The Economic Cost of Gun Violence

Since I pulled this article from Everytown, here is a bit of information about it. “We are the largest gun violence prevention organization in America. Made up of more than six million mayors, moms, teachers, survivors, gun owners, students, and everyday Americans who have come together to make their communities safer.”

I am guessing there is a bend towards women in this organization. Not an issue. Tons of information on gun violence is within its pages.

A partial rewrite of their article which is very good. I think many would not read it all on Angry Bear. Short attention span? The link to the complete article is included and worth the read.


The Economic Cost of Gun Violence, Everytown Research & Policy, July 19, 2022

The cost of violence? $557 Billion annually and comparable to 2.6 Percent of US Gross Domestic Product.

In an average year, gun violence in America kills 40,000 people, wounds twice as many, and has an economic consequence to our nation of $557 billion. And yes it includes suicides, which are made easier due to access of a gun.

The human cost of gun violence, the people taken from us and the survivors whose lives are forever altered is the most devastating. In addition to this human impact, examining the serious economic consequences of gun violence offers a wider lens for understanding just how extensive and expensive this crisis is. 

This $557 billion figure is five times the nation’s budget for the Department of Education, which funds preschool through college for millions of Americans.1 If shooting tragedies were prevented from occurring, the vast funds spent in the aftermath of gun violence could be directed toward investments such as educating the next generation.

The $557 billion spend represents the lifetime costs associated with gun violence, including three types of costs: 

  • immediate costs starting at the scene of a shooting, such as police investigations and medical treatment; 
  • subsequent costs, such as treatment, long-term physical and mental health care, earnings lost to disability or death, and criminal justice costs; and cost estimates of the,
  • quality of life lost over a victim’s life span for pain and suffering of victims and their families.

Society consisting of families, communities, employers, and taxpayers pay for the growing costs associated with this violence, whether we own a gun or not. The daily costs are staggering:

  • Taxpayers, survivors, families, and employers pay an average of $7.79 million daily in health care costs, including immediate and long-term medical and mental health care, plus patient transportation and ambulance costs related to gun violence. There is also a loss estimated to be $147.32 million per day relating to missing work due to injury or death. 
  • Taxpayers pay $30.16 million every day in police and criminal justice costs for investigation, prosecution, and incarceration. 
  • Employers lose an average of $1.47 million on a daily basis in productivity, revenue, and costs required to recruit and train replacements for victims of gun violence.
  • Society loses $1.34 billion daily in quality-of-life costs from the suffering and lost well-being of gun violence victims and their families.

A large variation in rates of gun deaths and injuries in the 50 states and Washington, DC, translates into substantial differences in the economic burden from this violence in each state.

The average annual cost for overall gun violence in the United States is $1,698 for every resident in the country. In states with stronger gun laws, the economic toll of gun violence is less than half this amount. Whereas in states where gun laws are weaker and gun injuries and fatalities are higher, gun violence costs residents double or more this amount per person.

In states with strong gun laws, such as Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New York, the human and economic toll of gun violence is below $800 per person annually. This results in more government funds to invest in education, health care, workforce development, and other valuable services. Included are programs addressing underlying causes of gun violence. In states where gun laws are weaker, gun fatalities are higher, including Mississippi, Montana, and Wyoming, the cost of gun violence is around four times higher, at over $2,800 per resident.

Does it make a difference?

To illustrate the difference between states, the authors chose two states with similar populations and different governing gun laws. Washington State and the State of Missouri were compared.

As the authors point out, Washington State has the larger population. The costs resulting from gun violence are ~66% of the State Missouri’s costs. It must be the ocean near Washington State. It could never be the laws governing the use and keep of bullet-spewing-weapons. Just ask the NRA or maybe just ask them to pull their heads out of some rather dark place (not the author’s words) and accept reality.

EveryTown for Gun Safety‘s Research & Policy is responsible for much of the dialogue in this post. I did rewrite some of it. Also there are a few words and phrases I took the liberty of adding. The additions are obvious. If you have a question ask.

Gun Violence vs Democracy, Angry Bear

Students ask “How Many More?” Angry Bear